A stink bug on a window

How to Help Eliminate Stink Bugs and Their Awful Scent

Here's How to Get Rid of Stink Bug Odor

It’s hard to describe the odor that stink bugs create, but once you’ve smelled it, you never forget. Some people say it’s like cilantro. Others compare it to burnt tires. You may also see it likened to ammonia or rotting sweets. What’s generally not up for debate is that the smell is unpleasant and capable of lingering for far too long. Fortunately, you can take steps to get rid of stink bugs and their smell. Read on for tips and tricks. 

What are Stink Bugs? 

Before you can determine the best way to get rid of stink bugs, it’s helpful to know exactly what these creatures are. The proper name of the pest is the brown marmorated stink bug or BMSB for short. It originated in East Asia and was first found in the U.S. in Allentown, PA, in 1996. However, the bugs initially baffled scientists. No one identified them until 2001. By 2004, stink bugs had become pervasive. They’re found today in 44 states. 

Stink bugs are pretty easy to identify. They have a distinctive shield shape and a speckled or mottled brown color. Like other insects, they have six legs, two antennae and a segmented body. You’re most likely to start wondering how to get rid of stink bug infestations in the late summer or early fall. This is when the critters begin to seek warmer shelter indoors. They can get inside through cracks around doors and windows, gaps in siding and around pipes and chimneys. Because they love light, you may find them stuck to windows or around light fixtures, computers and televisions. 

When a stink bug feels threatened, it secretes chemicals from its abdomen. We’re not the only ones who find the smell of these substances unappealing. Predators are also turned off by the stink and may look elsewhere for food once they smell it. 

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs

There is no single surefire way to get rid of stink bugs in houses. Completely getting rid of stink bugs may even prove impossible, but trying the following could reduce the risk of finding the pests in your home. 

Create Traps

Do-it-yourself traps may be effective home remedies to get rid of stink bugs. To make one, fill a bowl with equal parts hot water, dish soap and white vinegar. Stink bugs that enter the bowl will struggle to get out, making it easier to dispose of them. You can also combine two cups of hot water, 1 cup of white vinegar and .5 cup of dish soap and then pour the solution into a spray bottle. Spritz it directly onto bugs you find to disable them. 

Capture Them in the Vacuum

Vacuuming can be an effective way to eliminate stink bugs that you can see. Use an attachment to catch them on windows and other surfaces. Change the bag or clean the canister outdoors immediately to keep the smell from permeating through to your home. 

Ward Them Away

Another strategy is to make your home less appealing to the bugs in the first place. Try mixing 10 drops of mint essential oil with 16 ounces of water. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and then spritz it around your windows and doors. The scent might just keep those pests away. 

Feel free to combine all three of these strategies for getting rid of stink bugs. Remedies may produce better results when used together. 

Other Tips for Removing Stink Bugs

To ensure success with any of the above home remedies to get rid of stink bugs, do the following: 

  • Handle stink bugs with care: When you pick stink bugs up to dispose of them, wear gloves to keep the scent off your skin. Avoid crushing or squeezing dead ones. 
  • Release them outside: The best thing to do with live or dead stink bugs is to dispose of them outdoors. Don’t throw them in your waste basket or flush them down the toilet, as this could lead to smells. 
  • Fortify your home against them: Replace or repair any damaged seals, siding or masonry that may be allowing stink bugs to get inside. If you don’t plug the holes and cracks, the pests may return every year. 
  • Do a spring inspection: When the weather starts to shift from winter to spring, thoroughly inspect your home for any structural issues that could provide entry points for stink bugs when conditions get cool again. 

Use an Odor Eliminator to Help Remove Stink Bug Odor

Stink bug odor isn’t permanent, but it can linger for hours. If you’ve smelled it before, you know that even a few minutes of dealing with the stench is too long. Fortunately, there are safe, nontoxic ways for you to deal with odors when they occur. Fresh Wave Odor Eliminators are effective at removing many unwanted scents. Instead of masking them with perfumes, the products absorb the chemicals that cause odors using the power of plant-based ingredients. For stink bug odors, you can choose from a variety of Fresh Wave products. If you’re in the middle of an infestation and frequently dealing with bugs, try long-lasting Fresh Wave Odor Eliminating Gels that can fight odors continuously for 30 to 60 days. When a single bug strikes, you can refresh the air with Fresh Wave Odor Eliminating Spray. Safe for fabrics, the spray is also a great way to address stink bug odors on draperies, furniture and clothing. Another option for refreshing a room is to use Fresh Wave Odor Eliminating Candles, which burn cleanly and give off pleasing plant-based scents while absorbing odors.